Time to listen to the people

THE most important consideration when choosing a home is the number of bedrooms, followed by safety for people and property, according to a report by the Grattan Institute.

Titled “The Housing We’d Choose”, it reported on the preferences of more than 700 Sydney and Melbourne-based respondents.

The survey found the rest of the top 10 considerations relate mainly to the neighbourhood: people want homes near public transport, near shops or a shopping centre, near family and friends.

Researcher Jane-Frances Kelly said the research showed that many of us do not want house-and-land packages. But shortages in inner areas indicated a desire for a more variety in housing choice.

This is certainly the case in the ACT, as shown by the rapid pre-sales of apartments in and around Civic and the town centres.

But delivering what people want is challenging, especially in the ACT because of a range of onerous taxes, fees and charges, especially the  noxious new lease-variation charge that is forcing up the costs of new apartment buildings.

Then there are extra costs for materials and labour, the search for available land and, finally, the sad reminder of the foibles of Australian planning systems – the delays and uncertainty that seem to be a basic characteristic of them all. Time to listen to the people.

Catherine Carter is ACT executive director of the Property Council of Australia.

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